Real Estate Transfers, Conveyancing & Mortgages
Buying Real Estate
What you are buying:
When a person buys a property, what they are acquiring is the fee simple title to the property. “Fee Simple” comes from the roots meaning that anyone can own the property and it can be inherited by anyone. This fee simple ownership means that you acquire the greatest bundle of rights that one can acquire related to a specific piece of property.
The process followed when buying a property is called a conveyance. What happens is the ownership of title to the property is conveyed from the seller (vendor) to the buyer (purchaser). We will prepare the forms and perform the actions necessary to facilitate this process. Here’s a link to an article where I explain the Conveyancing Process in British Columbia.
What happens in a conveyance:
Ownership of land in British Columbia is recorded in the Land Title Office. When we act for you to assist in your purchase of real estate, we will prepare a document called a Form A Transfer which the present owner will sign in the presence of another Notary Public or Lawyer, confirming that they agree to transfer ownership of the property to you upon payment of what ever purchase price you have agreed upon. We will also prepare a Property Transfer Tax form for you which is required for every transfer of property in British Columbia. There are certain exemptions to payment of Property Transfer Tax such as when transferring to a related party, qualified first time home buyers (article explaining conditions necessary to qualify for First Time Home Buyer’s Exemption to Property Transfer Tax), as transmitting a share of ownership, or to a surviving joint tenant. Where the property is a condominium, or a strata property, a Form F – Certificate of Payment must also accompany the application to transfer the property. The purpose of this form is to confirm that all strata fees and other assessments owing have been paid. We will order this document from the property manager.
We will also prepare Buyer’s and Seller’s Statements of Adjustments. There are various items such as property taxes and strata fees that will be adjusted between the Buyers and Sellers depending on whom has paid the expense, for what period it covers, and when your sale completes.
We will order a copy of the plan and have you confirm that the property we have prepared documents for is the property you intend to purchase. We will order a Tax Certificate prior to completion to confirm that the taxes have been paid, confirming any amounts owing or to determine what amount will be adjusted between the Buyer and Seller.
We will meet with you prior to completion to review the Buyers Statement of Adjustments and Mortgage Documents (if any). We will require the purchase funds to be deposited in our trust account prior to our registering the transfer. Sometimes it is necessary for us to register the transfer and mortgage prior to the Lender advancing the mortgage proceeds and we will arrange this with your Lender.
After the Transfer and any applicable Mortgage Discharges have been registered, we will order a State of Title Certificate. The State of Title Certificate is the document whereby the Registrar of Land Titles guarantees that the person(s) named as Registered Owners are in fact the registered owners of the property subject only to the listed registered encumbrances. Your lender will often require the original of this form but we will send you a copy with our final reporting letter.
Selling Real Estate:
When a person or company sells Real Estate, you require someone to act on your behalf to assist you to sign the documents, attend to paying out and discharging your mortgage, and ensuring that you receive the appropriate sale proceeds.
What typically happens is that you will have listed your property with a realtor who markets to the property and finds a buyer. The realtor will supervise the writing up of a Contract of Purchase and Sale where the buyer agrees to buy and the seller agrees to sell the property. Once you have a contract signed by both parties, a notary or lawyer will act for each party to perform the contract. When you decide to sell your property, it is important to retain a notary or lawyer early on so that we have sufficient time to process the transaction. Short notice transactions are possible but may incur additional expense.
If the property is a rental property with tenants, make sure that the buyer knows this and it is mentioned in the contract. If the buyer intends to live in the property, make sure that proper notice is given to the tenants to vacate the property.
It is important to identify which items are included in the sale of your property. The contract should specify appliances or other items that you are taking with you or what stays for the buyer. It is always better to determine this in advance than have a disagreement after the sale has taken place.